Threats against protesters at a rally honoring Emmett Till led to the cancellation of a nearby Christmas parade.
Authorities in Bowling Green, Ky., said there was a threat to “shoot anyone who demonstrates.”
Several events, including the parade and a holiday market, were canceled; the event went as planned.
A Christmas parade in Bowling Green, Ky., has been canceled after there were threats to shoot protesters at a nearby rally in remembrance of Emmett Till.
The Jaycees Christmas Parade scheduled for Saturday has been canceled “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a statement shared on Facebook in which organizers said they were working “to find an alternate date for the parade.”
“The safety of our attendees and spectators is ALWAYS our priority. We have been in constant communication with law enforcement and have felt all week that we can run a safe and fun event. With this latest information, we knew postponing was our best option,” the statement read.
The SoKY Marketplace mistletoe market in Bowling Green has also been canceled “due to events beyond our control”, the organization said on Facebook, in an effort “to ensure the safety of vendors and customers”.
In a joint video statement shared early Saturday morning, officers from the Bowling Green Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said there was a threat to the protest scheduled for noon Saturday.
“Late in the evening, we learned that there was a threat to these protesters,” Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said. “The specific threat is threatening to shoot anyone demonstrating and anyone assisting protesters.”
Hightower said authorities had not yet been “able to determine the validity” of the threat at that time. BGPD Chief Michael Delaney said the two offices were working with Kentucky State Police, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security “to determine the origin of the threat.”
At least three groups had planned to demonstrate simultaneously at the city’s justice center, Delaney said. Despite other cancellations, the protest went ahead as planned on Saturday, according to multiple reports.
According to WNKY, the protest was aimed at demanding justice for Emmett Till, the 14-year-old who was brutally lynched in 1955 in Mississippi after a white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, accused Till of whistling at her.
Till was later killed by Bryant’s husband Donham and his half-brother. When Till’s mutilated body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, his mother demanded an open casket funeral in Chicago in what became a key moment in the civil rights movement.
The men who killed Till, Roy Bryant and JW Milam were acquitted of charges related to Till’s death, were never jailed and have since died, according to PBS. Bryant Donham, now 89, has never been charged and lives quietly in Bowling Green, according to WNKY.
Despite renewed efforts to investigate Bryant Donham, a grand jury in August declined to indict him for kidnapping and manslaughter, Insider previously reported.
Saturday’s protest in Till’s honor lasted about four hours as protesters demanded Bryant Donham’s arrest, WNKY reported. Some attendees were armed, WBKO reported.
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